‘Pure exhaustion’: Students experience mid-semester burnout

Experts suggest these five methods to revitalize yourself when you're feeling burnt out. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer

As the spring semester passes its halfway point with both a spring break and a wellness day canceled, Baylor students are experiencing symptoms of burnout.

Burnout, as published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information is described by three main symptoms: exhaustion, alienation from (work-related) activities and reduced performance. Burnout is also commonly seen with depression, but having one or the other doesn’t mean that you will have both.

Houston freshman Chinalu Mgboji said she’s experienced exhaustion and disinterest in classwork from the fast pace of her academic classes in combination with the canceled breaks due to the pandemic.

“There’s not a moment where I feel like I shouldn’t be studying. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of work I’m doing now … [I just feel] pure exhaustion and not wanting to even look at my work and then feeling bad because I have to,” Mgboji said.

Mgboji said her feelings of exhaustion are not personal to her but apparent in her conversations with her peers.

“From everyone I talk to, there’s no breaks and the professors are moving so quickly to get through all of the material…it’s just exhausting and it’s a lot,” Mgboji said.

Randal Boldt, Pys.D, senior associate director and supervising psychologist at Baylor Counseling, said burnout may be helped by five different coping strategies that he’s seen work over the years: rest, relaxation, relationships, religion and recreation.

His approach focuses on sleep with rest, breathing exercises with relaxation, confiding personal struggles in others with relationships, spiritual practices with religion and fun activities with recreation.

“I would encourage students to use those five different strategies every day. Find a way to have a small break, and on the weekends find a way to do a bigger break,” Boldt said.

Mgboji said she’s been trying out new things to help her cope with feelings of burnout including taking breaks from schoolwork when she can and regularly eating meals with friends.

“[I try to] hang out with friends, like last weekend I didn’t do any work … sleep, trying to go to the gym more,” Mgboji said.

If students are struggling, the Baylor Counseling Center is available for help. Students can schedule an appointment and initiation assessment by calling 254-710-2467 and if in a crisis, there’s a counselor available to talk with 24 hours a day at 254-710-2467.